Is there any such thing as too many boots?

This is the time of year that I start wearing my snow boots and winter coat inside the house, all day long.  I get so cold every day when we are trying to do our school work. I turn up the heat, I drink hot drinks, but nothing seems to help. My feet are still cold!

I have tried every combination of thick socks and house slippers, but nothing seems to work. My feet still get freezing cold unless I have that nice thick rubber sole separating me from the cold floor. I try my best to survive, sliding around in three layers of socks. But finally, I give in and put on my winter boots.

I know this is horrible. Even though I make sure my boots are CLEAN, I’m still concerned all day long that I’m spreading boot germs all over the carpet and the hardwood floor. But the alternative is even worse. When mama is cold, everyone feels the chill!

So, I’m hoping I’ve found the key to save me from six months of freezing feet and to save my house from being trampled. Here is is. The indoor house shoe boot:

This thing could save my life. Not only does it look very warm. It’s cute! I think it’s going to look awesome with my “home schooling outfits.” Only a slightly crazy home school/work-at-home mom would worry about finding a house shoe that will go with her jeggings, but I think this one is perfect. =]

I’ve already sent my husband the link to the Old Navy web site where I found these and begged for them for our anniversary, which is this week. I would secretly like them in every color combination.

And while we are on this very important topic, can I just say this:

I really thought there was no possibility I could need a new pair of boots this winter… But they come in black, too.

Oiy.

aug2011emily

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The hazards of getting dressed for work when you stay at home

This week, I am celebrating my 11-year anniversary as a stay-at-home mom. This has been the best job I could ever have hoped for. However, to commemorate this momentous occasion, I also want to point out one of the perils of going to work at home.
When I first started staying home more than a decade ago, it was difficult to motivate myself to get up and get ready in the morning when I had no where to go. Many times, I wouldn’t even take a shower until right before my husband came home from work.
I have come full circle since then. Now, I know that I will feel better about myself if I get up and put on clothes that I like even if I don’t have any plans to leave the house. I even complete my daily outfit with accessories, such as a necklace or a scarf.
But this can also lead to some significant dangers on the job. 
Take for example, the long necklace. Now, we all know it’s stylish to wear a long necklace. But look what can happen when you attempt to cook dinner! There is nothing worse — nothing! — than raw chicken on your long necklace!
Then, there is the fashion scarf. It is cute. It’s stylish. But it is not a practical look for cleaning any part of the house that involves bleach. Just imagine what can happen when the long scarf meets cleaning the toilet. (It gives me shivers just to think about it.)

Finally, there’s the cape. I love my comfy cape with the long, dangly fringe. But I cannot even tell you how many times I have nearly burst into flames trying to bake while wearing the cape. Just imagine the danger of pulling a pan of cookies out of the oven while wearing the long cape!

So, I admit, it is crazy to subject myself to this kind of danger on a daily basis. But I have to say it’s worth it. When I lounge around in my PJs all day, I get grumpy. It’s better to get up, get dressed, go to work and just try my best to survive the accessories!
What about you? Do you like to lounge around if you are going to work at home? Or do you prefer to get dressed for the day?

aug2011emily

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I’m wearing red on the inside

A couple of years ago, it was Cubs-White Sox night at Awana. Since I’m the one who buys clothes for everyone in this house, the kids didn’t have a stitch of sports-related clothing in their closets.

I called my husband from a last-minute clothing search at Wal-Mart a couple of hours before it was time to go: “Honey, are we for the Cubs or the White Sox?”

“The Cardinals,” he replied.

You see, my husband and I are both born and raised in southern Illinois. Down there, if you talk about baseball, you are either for the Cardinals or the Cubs. If you choose the Cubs, everyone hates you, but at least you do have that as a choice.

So, I have been a Cardinals fan as long as I can remember. Well, that’s a Cardinals fan in my own little, “I don’t care about baseball and could you please turn the radio station to some music” type of way.

Even though St. Louis proper is just past the border of Illinois, I think people in southern Illinois feel more like they can relate to that city than what’s happening in big ol’ Chi-ca-go, a million miles away. To us, even though St. Louis was a two-hour drive, it was one of the closest shopping malls to my home. My whole family would pile in the station wagon and drive over there for an entire day of shopping and dinner out at The Spaghetti Factory.

This might not make sense to some of my suburban readers who think that when I’m talking about southern Illinois I mean Joliet or DeKalb or Rock Island. Those are very much in the northern part of the state. And, I regret to inform you that even Peoria, Champaign and Bloomington still don’t make it past the halfway point of our long state. I am actually talking about places and events that happen in SOUTHERN Illinois.

It’s there. Trust me.

Anyway… Back to baseball.

My husband has always been a huge Cardinals fan, but up here, you kind of have to practice your allegiance in private since you are so surrounded by St. Louis haters. There just aren’t a lot of people who want to come over to watch a Cardinals game on TV. And I do believe he has been boo-ed a time or two for wearing his redbird hat out in public.

But during the last couple of years, we have become good friends with a family from St. Louis. They have three boys who are great friends with our boys. So, our two families have developed a bond around our love for the Cardinals.

When it became apparent the Cardinals were on their way to the World Series, I couldn’t look away any longer. I decided to join in on the fun. I had to stop thinking about my iPhone and necklaces and Photoshop tricks for a while and focus my brain on sports.

I have to tell you there have been some DRAMATIC changes in my lifestyle during the last few weeks. For example:

  • Last week, my husband was not home, and for the first time in my life, I willingly turned on the TV to watch a sporting event.
  • On another day, I missed the game. The first thing I did the next morning was check the score. (I can’t believe I just said, “I checked the score.”) hee hee hee.
  • I have learned to recognize the players. I can now match up their names to their faces and the positions they play on the field.
  • I even know some facts about the players and have been known to spout them off while we’re watching a game.
  • But the most amazing feat yet came during Game 6. My husband got discourage after the 5th inning and went to bed. I stayed up until midnight, watching that unbelievable 11-inning game! I even posted about it on Facebook like real sports fans do! (You have to know how much sleep I require on a nightly basis to fully grasp the magnitude of this last statement.)

However, there has been one thing I have not been able to bring myself to do to support My Cardinals. I simply can’t wear red.

I’m sorry, redbirds.

I don’t look good in red. When I wear red, people always ask me if I’m feeling OK. Before I diagnosed myself with a red-wearing disorder, I was known to have to go home in the middle of the day and change clothes because I wasn’t feeling “quite right.”

I don’t even like to stand in a red room or next to a red wall. With my pale, splotchy skin, I look like a corpse with chicken pox.

I’m not able to get all dressed up in my Cardinals gear today to support the World Series Champs. I’ll have to do that in a cute, comfy sweater in a neutral tone and possibly a coordinating scarf. But believe me, people, I’m Cardinals through and through. I’m wearing red on the inside.

aug2011emily

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When all else fails, try a necklace

For those of you who know me well, you will probably find this hard to believe. In fact, I find it hard to believe myself, but it’s true. Here goes.

Back in my 20s, I had an unnatural obsession with the turtleneck. From November to March, my wardrobe consisted mainly of every type of turtleneck: turtleneck sweaters, mock turtlenecks and just plain old turtlenecks. During this time in my life, I was having a contest with myself to see how thin I could become. The natural result of this effort was that I was always freezing cold.

I realized that I wasn’t quite normal one day when I actually wore two turtlenecks to work. In case you found that last sentence confusing, I mean that I wore one turtleneck and then wore another one right on top of it. I am not kidding.

Like any addiction, my love for turtlenecks started out gradually. I don’t think I even realized how serious my problem had become until one day when I was in my early 30s. I was watching the TV show, “What Not to Wear.” I remember so clearly the moment when the host of the show said these words to the poor, unsuspecting person who had been nominated for the show: “You are addicted to turtlenecks.”

Those words hit me right between the eyes like one of those suction cup bullets my kids shoot from their Nerf guns. To say that moment was life changing would be an understatement. My eyes were opened for the first time to the fact my love for turtlenecks was not normal. Oh sure, it started with an attempt to stay on top of a fashion trend in the 1990s.

But it had grown beyond that. What I always saw as a natural way to keep myself as warm as possible by wearing a shirt that covered my neck had grown into a decade-long addiction. I couldn’t stand to go out of the house with my long, pale neck exposed to the cold air. I was obsessed with keeping it covered.

That moment began for me what was a long and difficult process of ridding my wardrobe of turtlenecks. I would be lying if I told you that breaking this cycle of addiction was easy. I tried little by little to choose something other than a turtleneck on a cold winter day. It probably took me at least a year to reduce my weekly turtleneck consumption to only a few a week, rather than one — or more! — a day.

But once I finally got myself to a place where my neck was bare on a regular basis, I think my friends noticed something was missing. I believe it was the Christmas of 2004, when my friends had to do what only good friends are willing to do. They bought me a necklace for Christmas.

It was a simple silver pendant on a thick silver chain. Up until that point, the only time I wore a necklace was to a formal dance, as a bridesmaid in a wedding and, of course, on my wedding day. I don’t think I even owned a gold chain, a string of pearls or anything else to wrap around my neck.

I wore that silver chain nearly every day. I loved how it filled up that blank space between my collar bones.

It wasn’t long until I was so at home in my silver chain that I purchased another necklace. Now, I actually had a choice of which necklace to wear. One necklace led to another. And the necklaces themselves grew larger and bolder. For those of you who know me now, you know that my necklace collection has gone completely overboard.

I love necklaces! I rarely leave the house without one. Some are cute and simple. Others are obnoxiously large. I feel naked if I don’t have some type of colorful pendant dangling around my neck.

Only recently have I actually expanded my array of neckware to include the scarf. This was tricky at first. I had to watch a YouTube video to figure out what to even do with the scarf. I also had to accept the fact that I couldn’t wear a necklace AND a scarf at the same time. The necklaces would have to stay home for a day and relax while I ventured out of the house with a large, long colorful cloth poofed up around my neck.

All of this leads me to a simple question. What is your signature accessory? Do you have one accessory that you can’t leave the house without? Maybe it’s ear rings or a bracelet? Could be a necklace? Or are you into scarves?

Or is it possible that you need to confess right now that you have are having a love affair with a turtleneck? I’m here to tell you that there IS hope. I’m living proof.

Although, I must warn you. If you give up your turtlenecks, there’s always another accessory waiting to wrap its pretty little self around your neck.

aug2011emily

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The great sale…

I’m about to make a confession that could be a bit shocking to the two of you. If I happen to have three readers today, then, I’m sure it will be a shock to all three of you.

But for some reason, I feel like I have to come clean. Maybe at least one third of you can relate (which would be one of you), and then I will at least feel better.

A few months ago, I was shopping at New York & Company. (Shocker!) This is where I buy about 90 percent of my clothes, and I do so for a few reasons. Their clothes seem to fit my style, and they fit me. Most importantly, I understand how to work their coupons.

Anyway, they had some dresses on clearance. And I really didn’t need any dresses. But the dresses were cute, and they were 50 percent off the sale price. Plus, I had a 30 percent off coupon. So, basically, I bought a dress for $16.

A few months later, I wanted to wear the dress. But I needed a little sweater to go over the top. I didn’t want a big bulky sweater. I really just wanted a shrug. A girl knows when she needs a sweater and when she needs a shrug.

Well, at this point, stores were replacing all of the summer clothes with fall clothes, and, as you both know, the shrug isn’t really a fall sweater. But MIRACULOUSLY, I found a shrug in You Know Where and it was the right color.

The only problem was that the shrug was not on sale. It was $29. That is $29 for a little piece of knitted fabric designed to cover my shoulders. So, of course I did not buy the $29 shrug to wear with the $16 dress.

Until two days later.

That’s when I gave up on finding a shrug that was cheaper than the dress and gave in to the fact that if I was ever going to wear the $16 dress, I would have to buy the $29 shrug. That is a simple mathematical equation, but one that is not always easy to solve the first time.

At this point, I had a coupon to save $30 off my purchase of $70. I needed some new jeans and all of the jeans were buy one, get one half off. So, basically, I could get a good deal on jeans and get the shrug for free. Right?

So, I carefully calculated my order to make sure I didn’t go too much beyond $70. But alas, when I went to check out, I had actually spent $80. There was a second offer attached to my first coupon, and this one was to get $70 off my purchase of $150. When the cashier pointed this out to me, I quickly refused. I WILL NOT BUY ANYTHING ELSE! I know their tricks.

But then, I did the math. And I realized that if  I purchased $150 worth of clothes, I would only spend $80, which was the same amount I was spending anyway.

I reluctantly wandered around the store trying to find another $70 worth of stuff so I could get it for free. I added two shirts and a scarf to my pile and headed back to the check out.

Now I was good to go. I had my $16 dress, plus the shrug I needed to wear it, along with two pairs of jeans, two shirts and a scarf. I was set.

However, I realized I needed a new female undergarment, which shall remain nameless because I already attract enough spam to my blog, and I don’t want more. I headed to Kohls (without a coupon, I will add) and spent way too much on the undergarment. And I will not admit here, because it would sound ridiculous, that there was a long, short-sleeved sweater that is absolutely perfect for early fall that would look great with those new jeans I just bought, and I might or might not have purchased that, too.

I was totally ready now. I had the $16 dress, the shrug, two pairs of jeans, two shirts, a scarf, an undergarment and, maybe, a sweater.

Thankfully, I already had shoes.

The only thing I could possibly need now would be a necklace. So, I headed to my favorite jewelry store, Charming Charlie. I walked straight to the color-coded section required for my particular dress without looking to the right or left at anything else. OK. I can’t lie. I did try on a sweater in there, as well, but I PROMISE I did not buy this one, even though it was long and the exact color… OK, nevermind.

I found a necklace. It was only $12. (That is LESS than the dress, I might add.) But I wasn’t sure how the necklace was going to look with the dress. And there was another necklace that might be the perfect one. And it was only $12. And what if I got the wrong one, drove all the way home, and realized I had not purchased the correct necklace. So, of course, I had to get both. And it’s a good thing because the one I wasn’t going to buy was actually the right one.

Now, I was good.

I had the dress. The shrug. Two pairs of jeans. Two shirts. A scarf. An undergarment. A sweater. And two necklaces.

I was ready to wear that $16 dress.

And I know this has never happened to anyone else but me. So, if you leave me a comment and try to tell me that you can sympathize or relate, I will know it’s only to make me feel better.

And please remind me that if I EVER see a dress on sale for $16 to RUN!

aug2011emily

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Comfort AND fashion? Really?

I think you all know by now how I feel about comfort and fashion.

I am perfectly fine with the fact that sometimes fashion hurts. It is not easy to be stylish. It takes work. Commitment. Dedication. And often, sore toes.

I have no problem admitting that when a fashion item describes itself as “comfortable,” I usually run the other direction. This mostly happens with shoes. You know the ones. (I was going to name names, but then I remembered what happened when I brought up the U-G-Gs. So, don’t worry S-A-S, you are safe. THIS TIME.)

I have accepted the fact that fashionable footwear can even be dangerous. It’s worth it to me to walk perilously on icy sidewalks in high heels. I have been known to trip over sidewalk cracks in my platform flip flops. And yes, my toes have been frozen for a good month straight now because of my determination to wear open-toed shoes in this so-called spring weather.

So, that is why I think it is not only blog-worthy, but somewhat earth-shattering news to report the following: I BOUGHT A PAIR OF COMFORTABLE SHOES. And. They are cute. (I hope.)

I found this experience so strange and out of the ordinary that I stood staring in the mirror at the shoe store for about 20 minutes, trying to be sure that the shoe on my foot really was stylish. Could it be? I could feel the padded comfort under my foot. And yet, as far as I could tell, the toe sticking out from under my jeans really. was. cute.

My suspicion was confirmed when another shoe shopper stopped in her tracks, looked at my feet and said, “Those are cute!” Then she added with a puzzled tone, “Are they comfortable?”

And for pretty much the first time in my life, I answered, “Yes! They are!”

(I later spied the same woman putting down a box of white pumps and checking out the same shoes I was trying on. I wanted to ask her to be my best friend, but, wisely, I resisted the urge.)

OK… So, please tell me if you think these shoes are not totally cute? (Or, have I officially hit middle age and I have lost all fashion sense?)

But I actually did not get the blue suede, even though that was my favorite.

Or the pewter… even though those are cool.
Instead, I was much in need of some type of shoe to wear in what is becoming a dreadfully long season between the two main seasons of the year: “Boots” and “Flip flops.” So, I went with the clog. And can I tell you that my toes are so warm I can barely stand it?

I’m still in amazement. And I will confess that when I wake up in the morning, feeling groggy and dreading the start of the day, I think about putting on my comfy shoes, and I jump out of bed.

How about you? Do you have a favorite fashion item that is both comfy AND cute? Please share.

dec2010emily

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